Members of the 5th Avenue Theatre and Seattle theater fans will be watching tonight’s Tony Award ceremonies for local faces. Among this year’s nominees is “Aladdin,” which premiered in 2011 at the Seattle theater. The Disney spectacle got some fine-tuning prior to arriving on Broadway and is now nominated for five Tonys including best original musical.
Seattle’s Don Darryl Rivera and Brandon O’Neill might be spotted during the telecast, as they play Iago (Rivera) and one of Aladdin’s buddies (O’Neill).
Other Northwest connections on tonight’s ceremonies include former Issaquah resident and writer Brian Yorkey and composer Tom Kitt, whose “Next to Normal” started out at the Village Theatre. They’re back in the Big Apple with “If/Then” starring “Frozen” diva Idina Menzel. “All the Way,” a dramatic examination of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s political power games, was written by Seattle author Robert Schenkkan. The play, and its sequel, “The Great Society,” are part of the Seattle Repertory’s upcoming season.
The next generation of Broadway stars and hometown theater heroes get their chance to walk a red carpet tomorrow (June 9). The nominees for the 12th annual 5th Avenue Awards Honoring High School Musical Theater are selected from across Washington State.
“The power of the arts is profound and has a lasting impact on young participants,” said 5th Avenue Producing Artistic Director Bill Berry. “Whether they go on to careers as doctors and lawyers, or actors and dancers, these students carry their experiences on the stage with them their whole lives. We at The 5th are proud to honor and celebrate these experiences.”
The program, which Berry created in 2003, sends local theater professionals to productions statewide. The evaluators gather at the end of the season and make nominations in 21 categories, from “Lobby Display” to “Overall Musical Production.”
More than ninety schools in seventeen counties participated this year. Approximately 2,000 high school students are expected to attend the ceremonies at Benaroya Hall tomorrow. The nominated students and schools will perform excerpts from their shows. This year, for the first time, the recipients of the awards for Outstanding Actor and Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role will have the opportunity to go to the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City.
Numerous past participants of the 5th Avenue Awards have notable careers as actors, directors, designers and theater administrators, including Stefano Langone, a Top 10 contestant on “American Idol;” Ryah Nixon, who appeared in the national tour of “9 to 5: The Musical;” and Diana Huey, who received a Helen Hayes Award.
Don’t be surprised if some of tomorrow’s honorees show up in future Tony telecasts. It’s apparently getting to be a short hop from the Seattle stages to New York awards.